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Stocks to Watch: Apple, Netflix, 3M, UPS

Joseph Woelfel

NEW YORK -- Apple AAPL shares dropped more than 10% in after-hours trading Wednesday after the tech giant's revenue trailed forecasts, earnings per share fell and profit margins shrank.
Apple posted revenue of $54.5 billion in its fiscal first quarter, up from $46.33 billion a year earlier but below analysts' forecasts of $54.73 billion. It earned $13.81 a share, down from $13.87 a year earlier; analysts were looking for $13.47.
Apple sold 47.8 million iPhones during the quarter, up from 37 million a year earlier.
Speaking during Apple's earnings conference call Wednesday, CEO Tim Cook shrugged off speculation of a drop in orders.
"I know there's been lots of rumors about order cut," he said in response to an analyst's question. "I would suggest it's good to question the accuracy of any kind of build plans."
Apple sold 22.9 million iPads in its first quarter, compared with 15.4 million a year earlier; 4.1 million Macs, down from 5.2 million; 12.7 million iPods, down from 15.4 million.
Apple's gross margin was 38.6% compared with 44.7%.
For its fiscal second quarter, Apple forecast revenue between $41 billion and $43 billion, gross margin between 37.5% and 38.5%, and operating expenses between $3.8 billion and $3.9 billion.
Analysts are looking for revenue of $45.38 billion.
Apple shares were trading at $474 in premarket trading Thursday. They closed at $514 on Wednesday.
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Netflix NFLX gained 2 million video-streaming subscribers in the U.S. during the fourth quarter, and posted a profit of $8 million during a period when analysts were expecting a loss.
The stock jumped more than 35% in after-hours trading following the release of the results on Wednesday.
Netflix said it expects its video streaming service to pick up 1.35 million to 2.1 million subscribers in the U.S. during the first quarter ending in March.
Netflix also said it expects to break even or report another profit during the quarter.
Netflix earned $8 million, or 13 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, down 78% from a year earlier, but analysts were calling for a loss of 12 cents a share because of expenses for expansion and licensing. Last year, the company earned $35 million, or 64 cents a share.
Netflix said revenue rose in the fourth quarter to $945 million, up from year-earlier revenue of $876 million, and above analysts' views.

Software giant Microsoft MSFT is expected by analysts Thursday to report fiscal second-quarter earnings of 75 cents a share on revenue of $21.6 billion.

3M MMM is expected by analysts Thursday to post fourth-quarter earnings of $1.41 a share on revenue of $7.18 billion.
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Wall Street expects defense contractor Lockheed Martin LMT to post earnings of $1.82 a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $11.16 billion.
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Shipping giant UPS UPS is expected by analysts Thursday to post quarterly earnings of $1.38 a share on revenue of $14.44 billion.

Delta DAL is talking to Airbus and Boeing BA about buying $1 billion or more of new jets as planemakers phase out their current single-aisle models, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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